In the new cover story for Allure magazine, Serena Williams opens up to writer Ashley C. Ford about an array of things in her life. There's levity, there's gravity – and there's even a walk together (Chip the pup isn't far behind) and the consideration of why a particular shrub strikes Serena as it does.

Topics range from her pregnancy with daughter Olympia (she loved it) to her dating life in the pre–Alexis Ohanian, Sr. Era (nothing stuck, so to speak).

Above all, Serena sounds free.

"It just hadn’t happened, and I really didn’t think about it much," she says of her dating experiences before taking to and eventually marrying Ohanian. "I was so committed to my job, and to being the best and working the hardest, and I think I still am. Not to knock anyone else I was with before, because they were all mostly amazing, but I know now I can be selfish, have a great career, and a great partner, someone that believes in me."

The litmus test of a relationship that would last for Serena was to be this: Her forever love would be one never seeking to "dim her light." That was Oprah's advising, and we should all be so lucky – to find such a person, for sure, but also to have an Oprah.

An array of gents preceding her future husbands might have been "all mostly amazing," but Serena herself needs no such qualifiers as accolades go. They are legion, and they continue to pour in – as she faces off in a mixed doubles match Down Under (against her fellow Greatest of All Time, Roger Federer) and prepares for the Australian Open (a Major she has won seven times in singles) starting in a few days' time.

All that is in play, and yet – among her business ownership, other pursuits, marriage and motherhood – she still finds time for new experiences.

It could be said that one hasn't lived until witnessing Serena go from playing toy xylophones to painting tennis balls on someone's nails, from tap dancing to guessing at the flavors of potato chips. 

Photos by Tanya and Zhenya Posternak for Allure. The issue is on newsstands January 22.

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